May 6, 2020 In the News

Big Dave talks PPP with Sen. Shaheen

Conway Daily Sun
By Lloyd Jones
May 6, 2020

CONWAY — Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hosted an hourlong conference call Wednesday with 10 small businesses and non-profits that received financial relief through the Paycheck Protection Program amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

She learned that they were happy to receive the PPP assistance but are concerned about what the future holds.

Among those on the call was Dave Hausman, owner of Big Dave’s Bagels & Deli in North Conway.

“Thirty-two years of doing this, and this was the first invitation of this type for me,” Hausman said in a follow-up after the call. “Wish it was under more favorable circumstances.

He added: “I feel very fortunate in relation to other types of businesses, as our model was predominantly takeout already. Honestly, after listening today, I think we will be able to utilize the loan as it was intended, to protect employees.

“I plan on going even further and give them hazard/bonus pay. They are the reason we have grown for 10 straight years. And when we continue to succeed through these interesting times, it will be because of their efforts. So I want to see them rewarded.”

On Thursday, Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, will do another conference call with other small businesses regarding the program.

According to Shaheen’s office, “$2,579,751,242 in loans has been distributed to 20,511 New Hampshire small businesses as of May 1. However, many small businesses continue to face significant difficulties accessing the program.”

Also taking part in Wednesday’s call were Kurt Steelman of Steelman Production Services Inc. of Keene; Marco Abreu of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem; Brechbuhl and Bruce Barnes of the Colby Hill Inn Bed and Breakfast in Henniker; Rick Cornell and Bill Ryder of the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester; Adria Bagshaw of W.H. Bagshaw Co. in Nashua; Dave Levin of Mad River Coffee House of Campton; Phoebe Bray of the Community Kitchen in Keene; Bonnie Scadova of New Hampshire Community Loan Fund of Concord; and Linda and Les Schooster of in Gilford.

“What a different time this is,” Shaheen said from Washington to open the call. “We don’t know how long this will last or what the outcome will be. I know there is a lot of anxiety.”

She added: “We knew the hospitality area would struggle. My goal is to be able to help people be able to support themselves, put food on the table and pay the rent.”

Shaheen thinks there will be an additional relief package coming. “I’m not sure if small business will be in it, but I think it needs to be,” she said.

Hausman started by saying he is “so lucky to live and work in such a beautiful area like the Mount Washington Valley.”

“Yes, you are,” Shaheen quickly replied.

Hausman said that last week he took part in an Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce meeting where local businesses shared concerns about the PPP funding. He said he was not included in the first round but five days ago learned he will be funded in the second round.

Saying he got close to $60,000, “in 32 years, this is the largest loan I’ve ever taken out without having all of the information with it,” he said.

He said all his staff wanted to return and he “would like to reward those employees.”

He added: “I think we’re utilizing the loan the way it was intended.”

When Hausman said he had the first online order app in the valley, Shaheen said with a laugh, “I’ve got to get a Big Dave’s bagel.”

Hausman voiced his frustration at seeing professional sports teams and Harvard University get the loans ahead of a small business like his.

“It’s very frustrating to see a Ruth Chris (Steak House chain) and some other franchises and Harvard get funding,” Shaheen agreed. “That was never intended to happen, and it’s why the oversight committee is so important.”

Steelman Production Services of Keene is in the entertainment industry.

“The PPP gives me a level of comfort I didn’t experience a couple of weeks ago,” Steelman said. “None of us in the entertainment industry see us coming back at least for a year or perhaps 18 months out. My concern is my company may not be comfortable for quite a while.”

Abreu of Boys and Girls Club wonders if he can offer summer camp, and if he can, “it will have to be vastly different.” The club counts on summer camp to provide revenue for the fall and winter. He will need to hire additional staff if camp happens, going from a 1-13 counselor to child ratio to more like 1-4.

“For us, it’s going to be a struggle just to get to the start of the school year,” he said.

Brechbuhl and Barnes said they got their PPP the night before the first round of funding dried up. They have had to offer couples planning weddings alternative dates in 2021.

“We had to give a lot of refunds,” Brechbuhl said. “We’ve given $100,000 back, and if you include room (rentals), we’re up to $200,000. If we hadn’t received the PPP, it would have been the nail in our coffin.”

Barnes and others said it has been difficult getting staff to come back because they can make more collecting unemployment until July 30.

“It’s hard when you have a dishwasher making $300 a week trying to convince them to come back when they can get $700 a week by not working,” he said.

“That’s something I’ve heard not just from people in the hospitality industry,” Shaheen said. “Unemployment is supposed to be there for people who have been laid off not for people who voluntarily don’t want to work.”